The Gift of Communication: 3 Programs Ideal for Communication Access

The Gift of Communication: 3 Programs Ideal for Communication Access

It’s the holiday season – and what better gift than that of communication? For those who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-disabled, communication can be a very useful gift.

Luckily Relay South Dakota offers some programs ideally built for this type of recipient – here’s a rundown of the services available.

#1: Telecommunication Equipment Distribution (TED)

When it comes to communicating through hearing loss, you don’t need to be cut off from regular interactions with friends and family. The TED program offers equipment distributed right to your home if you meet certain eligibility standards. You can even quality for free telephone equipment if you are a South Dakota resident, have difficulty communicating because of your hearing or speech and are connected to a phone service. Whether it's for the deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled, there is a piece of equipment that will help you stay connected to your friends and family.

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#2: National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP)

If your situation calls for more than simply hard-of-hearing solutions, you have options. Access to communication tools is available to deaf-blind South Dakotans as well. The NDBEDP offers communication technology, as well as educational opportunities and training to those eligible for assistance. Much of the equipment can be provided for free, and in-home training is available.

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#3: Relay South Dakota

Beyond connecting you with the above programs, Relay South Dakota provides telephone accessibility to people who are hard-of-hearing, deaf or speech-disabled. It’s as easy as dialing 7-1-1 and utilizing Relay South Dakota’s communication assistants to keep the conversation going in whatever manner works best for the caller. Services are offered up 24/7/365, internationally, in Spanish and at any length or frequency.

How Relay Works

The services provided by Relay South Dakota are built to meet the needs of hard-of-hearing, deaf and speech-disabled individuals statewide, with a variety of options. Choose from:

  • Text Telephone (TTY): Type your message, and an operator types back your conversation partner’s responses
  • Voice Carry-Over (VCO): Speak aloud to your conversation partner, and an operator types back his or her responses
  • Speech-to-Speech (STS): For those with speech disabilities, speak your half of the conversation, and an operator relays your message verbally
  • Hearing Carry-Over (HCO): Type your half of the conversation, and an operator speaks it to your conversation partner

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#4 Captioned Telephone Service

In addition to those services listed above, South Dakota Captioned Telephone Service allows you to LISTEN and READ captions of everything during your phone conversations, just like real-time captions on TV. 

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